If you love learning about LA, you won’t want to miss this fascinating webinar on the history of LA’s urban streetlights, taking place on Thursday, September 9, at 8 p.m., and organized by historians and urban storytellers Kim Cooper and Richard Schave of Esotouric, L.A.’s most eclectic sightseeing tour company. As is their style, Cooper and Schave will take us on a deep dive into the artistry, history, oddities, and infrastructure of the streetlights of Los Angeles. Frankly, even if you are not a history buff, you should jump on this webinar to learn more about how a few individuals managed to save our treasured historic street lights, including longtime local resident Eddy Feldman.
“The webinar is organized in two parts,” explained Schave. “In the first part we tell this history of the city’s street lights and in the second part, Kim will interview artist Shelia Klein, visual artist and creator of “Vermonica,” the street light installation that has been accessioned into the City of Los Angeles’ art collection. We’ll talk about how it was created, lost, and recreated thanks to the heroic efforts by James Masud, Division manager for Field Operations at the Bureau of Street Lights.”
“First, we’ll go on a then-and-now treasure hunt introducing you to some of those iconic streetlight designs, their history and evolution as a living part of the urban streetscape. These designs have poetic names like the Broadway Rose, the Vine Double, Metropolitan Standards, Wilshire and Hollywood Specials,” explained Shave.
“In the second part, Sheila Klein will talk about creating the original temporary “Vermonica” installation and the strange path to reinventing it as a permanent piece of public art,” Schave said. “While Chris Burden’s “Urban Light” (2008) on LACMA’s Wilshire Boulevard side is museum director Michael Govan’s signature achievement and a favorite spot for social media selfies, the piece is strikingly similar to Sheila Klein’s “Vermonica” (1993), that artist’s response to the 1992 Rodney King uprising placed in one of the looted East Hollywood mini-malls.”
Thanks will also be given to the efforts of another local hero, Eddy Feldman, a longtime local resident who wrote the book “The Art of Street Lighting in Los Angeles,” published by Dawson’s Book Shop in 1971. According to Schave, it was the first in the publisher’s important “Los Angeles Miscellany Series,” and all the titles have become collector’s items. Schave said Feldman was inspired to chronicle the history of street lighting in Los Angeles when he became a member of the board of Municipal Art Commissioners, which approved the design of lamps and lampposts, in 1961.
Schave promises this webinar will be packed with rare photos that will bring the history of Los Angeles streetlights to life. There will also be lively interactive graphics courtesy of the mmhmm app.
Tickets are $10. The webinar will stay up for one week. Click here for more information.
Hi. I have 36 Hollywood Specials.
Very cool – are they in use somewhere?